The world's top CRO is now the owner of Bio-Trials, headquartered in Panama, which gives its Latin American subsidiary an extra presence in this country, along with Costa Rica, Guatemala and Ecuador. Bio-Trials also has an office in Peru, where Quintiles is already in operation, in addition to five other Latin American locations: its headquarters in Argentina, along with Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Mexico. Bio-Trials provides clinical monitoring, clinical site coordination, regulatory support, study management and supply distribution services. Quintiles is a privately-owned CRO and the purchase price is undisclosed. Jeff Thomis, president of global clinical development services for Quintiles, said that the acquisition gives the company access to an experienced network of independent investigators in the "increasingly important" Central American region. "Our customers are increasingly including Central America as part of their global drug development program. The Bio-Trials team will be a welcome addition to our Latin America group", he said. An increasing number of factors are luring sponsors to offshore clinical trials to 'hidden gems' across the globe such as Central and Latin America and several new CROs are popping up in the region, and many of the large established CROs are opening offices there, in response to new business opportunities.In addition to a low cost base and access to large numbers of treatment-naïve patients, one big advantage of this geographical location is that 50 per cent of the population live in the two top cities, in addition to the time zone being the same as the US.